(CBS) — Thousands of people turned out today for an annual fundraiser that helps the families of Chicago police officers who are killed or disabled in the line of duty.

This year’s Run to Remember 5K run drew 5,000 participants – a huge increase from the 500 who showed up 12 years ago, says former police superintendent Phil Cline, who today runs the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.

“It makes you feel good. The families here who have lost an officer – it’s real important to them,” Cline tells WBBM’s Mike Krauser. “Plus, the money we raise today goes to pay the tuition, books, after-school activities for 29 children of police officers killed or catastrophically injured in the line of duty.”

Five hundred seventy-four fallen police officers are memorialized on a wall near Soldier Field.

The starters for this year’s run were four officers shot on Chicago’s West Side last month during an encounter with a suspected drug dealer. Mayor Emanuel was among the run participants.